Previously I had the pleasure of working at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta Georgia. Some of our work at the school has been documented on this website and I am very grateful for that support. Many people judge private institutions as having a leg up on public schools in placing students into university settings. Here are a few numbers:
1. In 8 years of graduating classes no student has ever not received an acceptance into a 4 year institution.
2. 3 years ago the graduating class of 40 had over $4 Million dollars in scholarship offers.
Now the assumption should be that: These are affluent students, in a strong academic setting. Therefore they should be primed to receive opportunities to gain acceptance into college.
Heres the kicker, many of these students are as normal academically as the average public school students. Many receive up to full tuition coverage based on need. Test score wise they rank on par or slightly above.
What I've learned is this. It's all about a students access to a talented College Counselor. For a senior class of 80 Mount Vernon has 2 college counselors. They are able to structure the college application experience. They have access to huge resources for scholarships and grant programs.
The best part for these counselors is that they are very different than traditional high school counselors. Their whole job is focused on pushing a kid into a college and helping them receive as much aid as possible. They do not deal with behavioral issues and there is a balanced number of students per counselor.
Personally growing up I never had any assistance from a qualified professional and support staff such as this is not a high priority for a Title 1 institution.
What if the key to helping under privileged students is helping them gain the same quality resources such as talented top tier College Counselors?